Samoan-born Diocesan School student Aniva Clarke has been selected as one of 12 global youth advisors on the inaugural Children's Advisory Team, established to facilitate youth consultations on children's rights, the environment and climate change.
The Children's Advisory Team (CAT) will work with the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child as they prepare official international guidance about how children’s rights are impacted by the climate crisis, with the information helping shape how governments around the world uphold these rights.
Year 12 student Aniva, who's a Pasifika group leader at Dio, will be supported in her year-long role by Women in Climate Change; an initiative of professionals from across the Pacific region. Aniva became their youth representative after meeting the group's founder at her school science fair five years ago, and went on to found an environment club called Eco-Toa, or Eco Warrior, responsible for Samoa's first Zero Waste Lunch.
"I grew up in Samoa and have been an environmental activist since I was 10 years old," says
"The Pacific islands are disproportionately affected by the climate crisis and as the only Pacific Island representative on the Children’s Advisory Team, it's extremely important to me to amplify Pacific youth voices and represent my Pacific cultures, values and beliefs."
Through the Women in Climate Change network and their support for her Eco Toa Initiative, Aniva will connect with children from across the Pacific to understand their perspectives about climate change and how it is directly impacting their lives. To encourage feedback, she has set up a social media network called Eco Toa Pacific, which can be found on Facebook and Instagram @ecotoapacific
Aniva recently took part in her first CAT meeting via Zoom with fellow members from all around the world. She says they shared experiences about their background in climate work, and talked about what they planned to do in the year ahead.
"During my year with CAT, I hope to make connections with other young people from across the world and understand how climate change directly affects them and what they're doing to combat it," says Aniva.
"I'm very proud to be Samoan, so being able to share my culture and Pacific values with the team is a huge honour for me. I want to gain more knowledge about how United Nations Committees work and learn how people can engage with the work of the UN."